Victims of anti-social behaviour will decide how their tormentors are punished.

Police chiefs are putting together a list of possible punishments for the victims of lower-level crime to choose from.

Louts had better watch out – the public is being asked what should be on the list.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne wants the public to whittle down options including apologising, receiving counselling and litter picking.

People can make their own suggestion for the Community Remedy Document to be published in November.

Victims will be able to choose whether they want to decide the punishment and the police will make sure the punishments are enforced. Mrs Bourne said: “A recent poll on my website showed that anti-social behaviour is a big concern, with littering, drug and alcohol misuse, and inconsiderate driving and parking topping the list of issues local people experience most often.

“‘Community remedy’ is designed to introduce simpler and more effective powers for tackling these lower level crimes.

“It is also designed to provide victims, should they want it, with a say in how an offender will make amends for the matter if the crime warrants an out of court settlement.”

The practice will build on the idea of punishing lower-level offenders outside of the courts, with police often talking to victims about how offenders should be dealt with.

Conservative Councillor Dee Simpson thought it good to give victims a say if they wanted it.

She said: “Some victims possibly would like to be involved and some would not but it is good to be given the chance.

“Even lower-level anti-social behaviour can be quite harassing, especially for older people.”

She added payback remedies had been used for youngsters who damaged the Woodingdean youth centre six months ago.

She said: “We decided that rather than have them criminalised that they should do some community payback.

“So they did litter-picking and all sorts of things and I think that is far more effective.”


You choose...

Options included in the Sussex Community Remedy Document include...

  • Written apology
  • Verbal apology
  • Face-to-face restorative justice conference
  • Shuttle conference (victim and offender talk but don’t meet face-to-face)
  • Repairing damage to property or cleaning graffiti
  • Paying an appropriate amount for repair
  • Stephen Reeves, 50, of Hove, taxi driver, said: “I suppose it depends what they've done. If it's for anti-social stuff it might work but we could only do it a couple of times before they need to be banged up. I think they should take a couple of days to clean up what they've done.”
  •  John Jensen, 72, of Hove, retired, said: “I think it's a good idea. Realistically, I'd like to see people get a large fine and then be made to clean it all up. Only one in 1,000 people are caught and then they are let off with a warning.”
  • Nicola Driddle, 44, of Fiveways, shopkeeper, said: “I think it could be a good thing, then you've got some control over it. I would make them come and clean up or repair whatever damage they caused and I think they should have to answer to the community.”